Care and Experience Are Hand in Glove

Meet Priscilla Burt, Circulating Nurse and Neurosurgical Services Coordinator

Within the walls of a St. Luke’s Hospital operating room (OR), you can find focused surgeons, attentive anesthesia providers, bustling RNs, skilled technologists, and Priscilla Burt, Circulating Nurse and Neurosurgical Services Coordinator at Southcoast Health.

“The OR performs a variety of surgeries and can see up to 30 cases per day,” says Pricilla, who has in-depth knowledge of neurosurgical nursing and ensures the OR is prepared for surgeries each day. “In addition to our regularly scheduled cases, our teams are also faced with urgent and emergent cases that present at the hospital in need of immediate care. With the recent designation of St. Luke’s as a Level II Trauma Center, we are seeing more immediate and intensive cases than ever. I think the designation also shows how invested we are to serving our community.”

With the constant flow of patients, Priscilla takes pride in not only providing all patients with excellent care, but providing each patient with an exceptional experience. “When a patient comes into our OR, I treat them as if they are family coming in my home. I approach them with a smile and ensure that they feel comfortable and confident in the care they are receiving.”

Priscilla attributes her caring sentiment to her loving (and large) Portuguese family.

Having been born and raised in New Bedford, she likes caring for patients who live in the area and are able to receive excellent care close to home.  “I decided to become a nurse because I wanted to help others. Starting as a nurse intern in 2002 and growing into the role I’m in today by caring for members of my own community has changed how I think about ‘helping’ others. As medical professionals, we are caring for patients both physically and emotionally.”

When Priscilla puts on her surgical gloves, she knows that her role transcends even sophisticated treatment. She also has an intuitive sense of how to reassure the vulnerable human being on the hospital bed.

“Something special I like to do is sing to patients while they’re falling asleep. Most patients are open and appreciative to my singing because it makes them feel comforted. It’s human nature to feel anxious before surgery, so every bit helps.”

Priscilla also acts as the eyes and ears for patients while they are asleep, frequently communicating with their families if requested.

Priscilla’s fellow surgical staff love her as much as patients do. Dr. Matthew Philips, Chief of the Southcoast Health Brain & Spine Center, says “Priscilla epitomizes More. She has worked at St. Luke’s since being a nursing student and has grown into the role of service leader in the OR. She is often in charge of running the OR desk, too. Her easygoing nature and gentle charm should not fool anyone, as she is one of the staunchest patient advocates I’ve ever met. She’s a dedicated nurse.”

To Priscilla, being More than medicine is “being more like family,” she says.

“Treating our patients and providers with the love and respect, you’d provide your own, family is what creates a positive environment and experience.”